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26 minutes ago, Morien said:

However, a more elegant way to do this would be to have the confirmation roll for nat20s, and judge that the current 'half-critical' is simply a success. I might go with that in the future. In the confirmation roll, you roll your (modified) skill again, and if it is a failure, nat20 is just a success. This is similar to how critical hits work in D&D (or at least Pathfinder, since I have not played 5e), where if you rolled a hit in the critical threat range, you roll to hit again and if it succeeds, you have confirmed a critical hit. Otherwise it is just a normal hit.

Thank you for the quick reply :)

In D&D5e it is a crit on nat20 and fumble on nat1. However there is an ability which Fighters get that's called Improved critical, where you crit on nat18's-20's in higher levels. 
I guess I would do something like that for the comfirmation roll. So if the player rolls a nat20 when their skill 1, they would confirm it with a target of 18-20. That way you still have a chance for a crit albeit a small one. 80% chance of it being a normal success, and a 10% of  getting a crit. 

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45 minutes ago, Genser said:

I guess I would do something like that for the comfirmation roll. So if the player rolls a nat20 when their skill 1, they would confirm it with a target of 18-20. That way you still have a chance for a crit albeit a small one. 80% chance of it being a normal success, and a 10% of  getting a crit. 

If you are ONLY using it for Skill 1, I would be tempted to make it 50/50. A confirmation roll of 11+ is a critical. This way, you have an equal chance for a success (2.5%) as for a crit (2.5%), which matches skill 2 having equal weights for success and criticals (success on 2 (5%), critical on 20 (5%) ).

The other way, as I suggested, would be to use it for all skills: if you roll a natural 20, reroll your skill and if the result is equal or less than your skill value, it is a critical. Otherwise it is a success with a numerical value of 19 for opposed roll comparison purposes. This has the nice effect that it makes criticals rarer as your skill becomes lower, a nice smooth diminishing chance. Or, if you want to keep the criticals common for skills 10+, you could have the confirmation roll to be skill+10.

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

If you are ONLY using it for Skill 1, I would be tempted to make it 50/50. A confirmation roll of 11+ is a critical. This way, you have an equal chance for a success (2.5%) as for a crit (2.5%), which matches skill 2 having equal weights for success and criticals (success on 2 (5%), critical on 20 (5%) ).

Good point! For skills of 1 I think a 50/50 would work well!

Here's my current tinkering with skills, progression and crits. Note I'm horrible at math and probability. If you could give your thoughts on it, that would be much appreciated. It is quite different from your house-rules though. 

Starting skills cap at 14 except one "Notable" skill which is 15. Players can improve 3 skills by one point each year from skill lvl 0-14. To progress beyond 14 the players need to choose 1 skill to improve each year. This improvement only happens when rolling a nat20 or the current skill number.  If the players get any checks to a skill throughout gameplay this also uses the same rules. I'm considering capping skills at 20. And using only +2 and +5 as modifiers. (I'm very stingy on the modifiers).

Criticals - Skills of 21 and above use an extended critrange, so a skill of 21 would crit on a roll of 19 and 20. And a modified 17+5=22 would crit on 18-20.  This way even a skill of 20+5 would only crit on 15+. I think that is fair. 

Both crit - In the event of both combatants critting the one with the higher die roll wins, and if it is a tie then Both are downgraded to normal hits. In a non-combat situation the player wins draws. 

I get that this slows down skill progression by quite an amount, but it also limits the insanity that is skills in the 30s. I want to try to keep the game grounded in some reality. 

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3 hours ago, Genser said:

I get that this slows down skill progression by quite an amount, but it also limits the insanity that is skills in the 30s. I want to try to keep the game grounded in some reality. 

It basically slows the skill progression to a crawl and makes the PKs not all that heroic. With these rules, They will be lucky to reach skill 15 in 10 years of play. That is... painful. You will not see much skill progression at all past 15, which is pretty much the starting skill level for PKs in their main skills (Sword, Horsemanship, Lance).

Furthermore, you CANNOT use Yearly Training to increase your skills past 20 anyway, so in order to get those skills to 30, you will need to roll those 20s in experience phase (unlikely) or use the limited number of Glory points. The best way to slow the progression is to control how much Glory you give, IMHO.

The other houserule to limit skills of over 20 that I have seen some people to use is to require that each step over 20 costs the excess in Glory Bonus Points. So 20 -> 21 costs 1 GBP, but 21 -> 22 costs 2 GBP, and so forth. This will pretty much ensure that people max out around 23, which is still very good, but not game breaking.

Or you can do an even more draconian version and say that the GBP can only be used to get the skills up to 20. This way, the rest of the GBP would get used on Passions, Traits and Stats. You still get an effective cap on skill at 20 unless someone gets very lucky, and no one is getting it to 25 or above with experience checks alone.

But this

3 hours ago, Genser said:

Starting skills cap at 14 except one "Notable" skill which is 15. Players can improve 3 skills by one point each year from skill lvl 0-14. To progress beyond 14 the players need to choose 1 skill to improve each year. This improvement only happens when rolling a nat20 or the current skill number.  If the players get any checks to a skill throughout gameplay this also uses the same rules.

is a bad idea, IMHO. You will only have a 10% chance on any skill to advance in experience checks, meaning 10 years per +1 on average, so why even bother with experience checks at that point? Or maybe that rule is just for skills higher than 14 and others use the normal rules of rolling over? That would be more reasonable, but still not very heroic.

It is better to use the chargen & experience rules as is, IMHO. If you want the PKs to start a bit weaker, you could cap their starting skills at 12. This would basically add a couple of years before they get their skills up to 15, rather than straight at the beginning.

Finally, KAP combat is quite realistic. Even if you have skill 20, if you are attacked by two knights of skill 15, you are in heaps of trouble. Even two spearmen with Spear 12 can give you grief in early phases, when all you have is a chainmail. That, by the way, is another thing to keep things dangerous for the PKs. If you don't let the technology to advance past the chainmail, the combats will remain much more dangerous.

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3 hours ago, Genser said:

Criticals - Skills of 21 and above use an extended critrange, so a skill of 21 would crit on a roll of 19 and 20. And a modified 17+5=22 would crit on 18-20.  This way even a skill of 20+5 would only crit on 15+. I think that is fair. 

That is how it already works, by the way.

3 hours ago, Genser said:

Both crit - In the event of both combatants critting the one with the higher die roll wins, and if it is a tie then Both are downgraded to normal hits. In a non-combat situation the player wins draws. 

We use the highest modified die roll. So Skill 25 vs. skill 20, and the die rolls are 16+5 = 21 and 20, the 21 wins even though the roll itself (16) was lower than 20.

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42 minutes ago, Morien said:

You will only have a 10% chance on any skill to advance in experience checks, meaning 10 years per +1 on average, so why even bother with experience checks at that point? Or maybe that rule is just for skills higher than 14 and others use the normal rules of rolling over? That would be more reasonable, but still not very heroic.

I should probably have prefaced everything with that my players and I like to feel very vulnerable as characters. So we tend to go for the unheroic.
The thought was that skills progress normally until lvl 14. and from there, you need to really dedicate your time to improve those skills. hence the 10% chance of improvement. So if you had a bunch of skills at 14, you would have to choose one to improve past that, but you would still be able to distribute 3 skillpoints to other skills. But I get that it is quite convoluted and it would halt the skill progression. I will go back into my notes and revise! You make great points that I need to consider.

48 minutes ago, Morien said:

Finally, KAP combat is quite realistic. Even if you have skill 20, if you are attacked by two knights of skill 15, you are in heaps of trouble. Even two spearmen with Spear 12 can give you grief in early phases, when all you have is a chainmail. That, by the way, is another thing to keep things dangerous for the PKs. If you don't let the technology to advance past the chainmail, the combats will remain much more dangerous.

Thank you so much for the insight Morien. I'm still completely new to the ruleset and I don't have a firm grasp on the balance just yet. 

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1 hour ago, Genser said:

I should probably have prefaced everything with that my players and I like to feel very vulnerable as characters. So we tend to go for the unheroic.

Downgrade armor. Trust me, you start feeling very vulnerable when all you have is a 8 point byrnie and a 6 point shield (half of the time), and facing two enemies hacking at you with 5d6. KAP is a quite forgiving system in some sense, but you can be taken out quite easily by a single critical hit or a couple of good hits past the shield. I don't know how it is in 5e, but in KAP, getting ganged up on when you are not encased head to toe in plate armor is always bad news.

That being said... the default KAP is playing knights, seeking to get to the Round Table. You know, heroes. 😛 So if you are going for the unheroic, you probably want to go either historical Dark Ages without nice big horse and shiny armor, or you want to play non-knights, and while you can do that with KAP, you are missing quite a bit. Although now that I think about it, it might be a pretty fun quick campaign to play the commoners in a knight's manor, and try to have yourself and your family survive through the Anarchy...

Finally... there is no resurrection spells in KAP, and healing spells are not in Player-control, either (until Codex Mirabilis, at least). So getting hit hurts, and getting hit multiple times tends to mean that it is time to rest and take it easy for a month. You can't just cast all the healing spells, raise the dead PCs, and continue on the next day. The vulnerability is somewhat built in. I would also add that while the point in KAP is to play a family, if your characters drop dead every other year, it is very difficult to get any sense of continuity for the characters. And it is very difficult to keep the family going if your character doesn't have time to marry and have kids before getting his head bashed in.

1 hour ago, Genser said:

The thought was that skills progress normally until lvl 14. and from there, you need to really dedicate your time to improve those skills. hence the 10% chance of improvement. So if you had a bunch of skills at 14, you would have to choose one to improve past that, but you would still be able to distribute 3 skillpoints to other skills. But I get that it is quite convoluted and it would halt the skill progression. I will go back into my notes and revise! You make great points that I need to consider.

Easier option: Use normal KAP up to 15, but disallow the use of Yearly Training to raise skills above 15 (normally, that is where the rules shift from 1d6 skill points to 1 skill point). This seriously slows the skill progression down, and you probably won't see many skills above 20 even if you allow Glory for that, too.

 

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13 hours ago, Morien said:

Downgrade armor. Trust me, you start feeling very vulnerable when all you have is a 8 point byrnie and a 6 point shield (half of the time), and facing two enemies hacking at you with 5d6. KAP is a quite forgiving system in some sense, but you can be taken out quite easily by a single critical hit or a couple of good hits past the shield. I don't know how it is in 5e, but in KAP, getting ganged up on when you are not encased head to toe in plate armor is always bad news.

Playing it more as a Dark age early viking age would suit our playstyle. Downgrading armour is a great idea :) 
What about making armour more variable. Like have 1d4 - 4d4 armour(Maybe even more for later periods.), while having a d8 as a shield die? So if a character is caught in a bad situation while not wearing armour, they are pretty screwed. but if they are dressed for battle in full byrnie and a large shield they would be more of a tank. But the enemy could still hit them in a weak spot of the armour. Hence the variability of the die roll instead of a flat armour rating. Also, more and more data shows that shields were used more actively as a defence, not just as a Passive block. so giving it the possibility of absorbing 8 damage would reflect that. So armour dice are d4s damage is d6 and shield is d8. This leaves a lot of room for variability. Average for 4d4 is 10, and the average of a 1d8 is 4.5 so 14.5ish damage reduction. While the potential is as low as 5 damage reduction or as high as 20. 

IDK. Just a thought. 

13 hours ago, Morien said:

Finally... there is no resurrection spells in KAP, and healing spells are not in Player-control, either (until Codex Mirabilis, at least). So getting hit hurts, and getting hit multiple times tends to mean that it is time to rest and take it easy for a month. You can't just cast all the healing spells, raise the dead PCs, and continue on the next day. The vulnerability is somewhat built in. 

This lack of fragility in D&D is why I'm considering leaving the system all together. Low level characters are vulnerable. But past lvl 5 characters just seem to pop back up as if nothing happened. Hey a giant smashed you into the ground. You were at minus a bazillion HP, but your buddy cast a healing spell that gave you 1 hp and now you are back in the fight. It's a bit cartooney. 

13 hours ago, Morien said:

Easier option: Use normal KAP up to 15, but disallow the use of Yearly Training to raise skills above 15 (normally, that is where the rules shift from 1d6 skill points to 1 skill point). This seriously slows the skill progression down, and you probably won't see many skills above 20 even if you allow Glory for that, too.

Love it! Can't remember if this is a thing already but tutoring could maybe be an option as well. Pay X amount of £ to increase 1 point from level 15-20. Or maybe a tutor grants one extra chance to succeed in a skill advancement roll. In real life being rich usually helps right xD 

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15 hours ago, Morien said:

The other houserule to limit skills of over 20 that I have seen some people to use is to require that each step over 20 costs the excess in Glory Bonus Points. So 20 -> 21 costs 1 GBP, but 21 -> 22 costs 2 GBP, and so forth. This will pretty much ensure that people max out around 23, which is still very good, but not game breaking.

Great Idea! It would be difficult to implement in my campaign now, of course...

@ Genser: the RAW are already very lethal, especially if you are stingy with glory and the use of passions (As you should^^). The norman chainmail is only ten.  So against 3 saxons with 5d6 damage, no PK is feeling at ease, trust me (And Morien, of course ^).

Maybe you should first test the rules as written, before making any change.

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51 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

The norman chainmail is only ten.  So against 3 saxons with 5d6 damage, no PK is feeling at ease, trust me (And Morien, of course ^).

Maybe you should first test the rules as written, before making any change.

Absolutely.
I haven't implemented any houserules as of yet. So I have just been checking out different Houserules and doing brief playtests by myself. We played through the first knighting ceremony and all that jazz. All we agreed on is that we wanted it to be hella lethal. And being so used to 5e I guess we were kinda scared that it would become too easy. My only other "view" of KAP comes from watching playthroughs on YT, and that is ofc no substitute to playing the game ourselves. 

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2 hours ago, Genser said:

So armour dice are d4s damage is d6 and shield is d8. This leaves a lot of room for variability. Average for 4d4 is 10, and the average of a 1d8 is 4.5 so 14.5ish damage reduction. While the potential is as low as 5 damage reduction or as high as 20. 

Too fiddly for my liking and d4 and d8 are an anathema. 😛

The damage roll itself is already highly variable, 4d6 is 4-24, a span of 20 points.

As Tizun Thane said, even if you have a chainmail hauberk (10) and a shield (6), you start getting really fearful about your life when faced with Saxons (5d6 damage), especially if they are using axes (shield protects only 1d6, although I prefer the older formulation of +1d6 dmg vs. shields to be consistent with maces and hammer and putting the onus on the wielder rather than the defender to remember the extra die). This is 6d6 damage, average 21, which means that even if you get the shield, it is 5 point wound. You can probably take 4 of them before the fifth knocks you out. However, if you are faced by two Saxons, the chances that you get a shield bonus go way down. Now you are probably looking at 11 points on average, and if the roll is a bit high, it can be a Major Wound, knocking a stat point off your stats and likely sending you unconscious with a single blow. In any case, two of these hits might be enough to knock you unconscious, and three means that you are dying (although probably can still survive if you get first aid).

Point is, if you get surrounded on foot by three Saxons with axes, you are likely going to be unconscious or dying in a turn or two. You are very vulnerable if you get outnumbered, even by the relatively common 'Saxon Raiders'. It is the war horse that tips the odds in your favor, but if you don't have that, things get real tough.

As I mentioned, this does change a bit when you get more advanced armor and the chivalric bonus, which is huge, too. My players' characters are currently rocking Partial Plate (14), shields (6) and Chivalric bonus (0 to 2, thanks to our tiered system). This means that most of them have 21 to 22 armor points with a shield, so regular sword duel has a lot of clink in it, and even criticals rarely cause a major wound, unless it got past the shield, too. Granted, this doesn't mean that they are invulnerable vs. lances or monsters, though. Just that they can take a lot of beating from regular swordwielders. But that happens later in GPC, and if you are playing in earlier times or a more historical setup with just 8 point byrnies, your PKs will be feeling the icy touch of death often enough to feel vulnerable, trust me.

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Just to add a bit on the vulnerability and the difference between Pendragon and D&D.  HP in D&D can only really be conceptualized as some sort of abstraction of your chance of dying or the extent of narrative protection, or whatever.  HP in Pendragon are called the same thing, but they have a much closer resemblance to being a mechanical representation of how tough your body actually is.   You are never not vulnerable, even in armour.

In Pendragon, at least at the start when damage reduction is capped at 19, you pretty much always *can* be vulnerable if your opponent criticals.  Even with the new critical rule, a 5d6 opponent will be doing 9d6 on a critical  (In my game, they’re still doing 10d6.)  And when mounted, there’s a sneaky +1d6 built into that because of unhorsing.  

At that point, if there’s a roll towards the top of the range, 50ish, even a chivalrous knight with 20 Sword has just taken about 30 points of damage.  Which if their SIZ and CON are decent might not kill them outright, but will 5/6 times cause them to lose a precious stat point, and will make them unhealthy — and they may die of their wounds afterwards.  

(Admittedly, the system for that is a bit of a problem, because one has to stop the game and make potentially quite a lot of the same roll over and over again.  It does a great job of representing what it’s supposed to represent, a person hanging on between life and death, but it can go on for rather too many rolls to be interesting.)

Now statistically, that takes a run of rolls all going the right way (or wrong way...).  But you’ll be rolling for combat over and over again — it will happen at some point.  If you put your players up against inspired famous knights (or comparatively ordinary opponents in the Book of Armies :)), the probability of that sort of thing will go up dramatically.

Out of armor, that all translates into being horrifically vulnerable.  One thing that the game does really is make one viscerally aware of why it’s dishonorable to attack an unarmed knight.

EDIT: Also, the new rule (which not everyone likes — I know that Tizun Thane considers it an abomination :)), that Horsemanship caps combat skills when on horseback, does an awful lot to slow the growth of Sword above 15.  So if you’re restricting training in high skills, and are also thinking of using that rule, I’d bear in mind that the effect of any restriction on training will be almost doubled unless your PKs are going to be fighting on foot a lot.

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2 hours ago, Voord 99 said:

(Admittedly, the system for that is a bit of a problem, because one has to stop the game and make potentially quite a lot of the same roll over and over again.  It does a great job of representing what it’s supposed to represent, a person hanging on between life and death, but it can go on for rather too many rolls to be interesting.)

I am going to push back a bit on that... Since you only do one Chirurgery roll per week, the likelihood is that you don't start rolling until after the adventure is over. In other words, you basically return to it once you have done all the rest, rather than stop the adventure in the middle of the story. Furthermore, it is easy enough to roll 8d20 and see what happens in those two months of healing, if the PK will pull through or not. Assuming healing rate of 3 and a reasonable healer of 15+, if you survive the first couple of weeks, you will most likely heal up OK; it is those first couple of rolls when you are barely above 0 that are the tense ones. I agree that once you are like at 10 HP, the rest of the rolls are just to see how much of a 'time penalty' you have due to your wounds, but if you are going to the winter phase anyway, it hardly matters. It is somewhat different if you are playing multiple battles or adventures per year (guilty!). For instance, one of our PKs got a major wound during the Roman War and missed out on the second big battle as the result. It happens.

Anyway, my point is that the Chirurgery rolls
a) usually happen after the adventure, and
b) rarely take more than a couple of minutes to resolve,
so even if Chirurgery is needed every session (sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't), it is not a significant timesink. (Especially in comparison to the idea of rolling 4d4 and 1d8 armor values vs. each hit you take...)

Now we have encountered situations in the adventures where the PKs need Chirurgery and they are in the middle of nowhere, but that is where hermits and witches and beautiful daughters of a local poor knight become so useful. 😛

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18 hours ago, Voord 99 said:

EDIT: Also, the new rule (which not everyone likes — I know that Tizun Thane considers it an abomination :)), that Horsemanship caps combat skills when on horseback

Thanks for quoting my opinion about it ;) 

You do not cap combat skills with horsemanship when your game is about knights. It's an abomination. ^^

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16 hours ago, Morien said:

Now we have encountered situations in the adventures where the PKs need Chirurgery and they are in the middle of nowhere, but that is where hermits and witches and beautiful daughters of a local poor knight become so useful. 😛

Tempted to insert the scene from Blackadder where he visits "The Wise woman". 

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1 hour ago, Tizun Thane said:

Thanks for quoting my opinion about it 😉

You do not cap combat skills with horsemanship when your game is about knights. It's an abomination. ^^

I can see that, but, weirdly and perversely, it’s because it’s a game about knights that I like it.  I’ve been playing with it through seven years of play now, and with my players, what it does is essentially ensure that they keep raising their Horsemanship to match their highest weapon skill.  Which suits my image of knights, people who have been trained from a young age to be cavalry warriors and who can reliably perform difficult equestrian feats even under the stress and confusion of combat.

You do have to go through the NPC knights and lower their Sword and raise their Horsemanship, though.  15 is now a bit amateurish.  I’ll be curious to see what happens when the knights have a few more years under their belt — I’d speculate that the biggest impact of the rule might be that a Sword skill of 21 is really good, and higher than 22 becomes unlikely for any PK.   (After all, you’re looking at 6 Glory points to achieve Sword 23 and Horsemanship 23, and you probably won’t reach 20 until you’re already pretty experienced.) 

This affects the problem with the Book of Armies having some very formidable opponents.  They become more formidable still when PKs can’t just send their Sword skill into the stratosphere as quickly as possible to ensure that they always get their shield bonus.  So far, I’ve had to be pretty generous about picking weaker options in all those “GM rolls X and picks one” situations from the BoB.  In 6e, it might be necessary to redo all of the BoA to reflect that knights are not going to be rolling a 20+ weapon skill as often.  

There’s also a question about whether you should give an experience check for Horsemanship when it was capping a skill — I tend to think that one should, at least if it was in something like a battle, but I’m on the generous side with experience checks.

Edited by Voord 99
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6 hours ago, Voord 99 said:

I can see that, but, weirdly and perversely, it’s because it’s a game about knights that I like it.  I’ve been playing with it through seven years of play now, and with my players, what it does is essentially ensure that they keep raising their Horsemanship to match their highest weapon skill.  Which suits my image of knights, people who have been trained from a young age to be cavalry warriors and who can reliably perform difficult equestrian feats even under the stress and confusion of combat.

Agreed.

6 hours ago, Voord 99 said:

You do have to go through the NPC knights and lower their Sword and raise their Horsemanship, though.  15 is now a bit amateurish.  I’ll be curious to see what happens when the knights have a few more years under their belt — I’d speculate that the biggest impact of the rule might be that a Sword skill of 21 is really good, and higher than 22 becomes unlikely for any PK.   (After all, you’re looking at 6 Glory points to achieve Sword 23 and Horsemanship 23, and you probably won’t reach 20 until you’re already pretty experienced.) 

Well, yes and no. I would actually look at the Lance skill more than the Sword skill itself, as what we'd expect to see as the new Horsemanship. Given that Horsemanship gets used more now, I would expect that it gets more checks (as you suggest later) and thus increases a bit more. But yeah, some minor rebalancing needs to be done to most NPK templates in the core rulebook. That being said, an average middle-aged knight should not be rocking a Sword 20 anyway, IMHO. The fact that this also limits (at least some) the minmaxing of a single skill (Sword) to stratospheric levels is very good, IMHO.

And speaking of Lance skill, I am going to houserule it that it is simply a Horsemanship-capped Spear and that is it. I find it irksome that you need a specific skill for a very specialized occasion (charge on horseback, capped by Horsemanship now anyway), when we have good mechanism already in place. Poking with a lance used Spear skill anyway already, so it makes perfect sense to me to get rid of the Lance/Charge skill.

6 hours ago, Voord 99 said:

This affects the problem with the Book of Armies having some very formidable opponents.  They become more formidable still when PKs can’t just send their Sword skill into the stratosphere as quickly as possible to ensure that they always get their shield bonus.  So far, I’ve had to be pretty generous about picking weaker options in all those “GM rolls X and picks one” situations from the BoB.  In 6e, it might be necessary to redo all of the BoA to reflect that knights are not going to be rolling a 20+ weapon skill as often.  

BoA is in dire need of an overhaul anyway.

6 hours ago, Voord 99 said:

There’s also a question about whether you should give an experience check for Horsemanship when it was capping a skill — I tend to think that one should, at least if it was in something like a battle, but I’m on the generous side with experience checks.

I would give an experience check for Horsemanship in that case, yes. I am also generous with experience checks, and I think that is a good idea in general. Players like to see their characters improve, and the experience check system is very self-limiting as you need to roll over the skill or a 20. Thus, soon enough you are looking at 10 checks to get a +1 to the skill, so why not?

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